Twins pound Oakland, 10-5
OAKLAND, Calif. – Minnesota manager Ron Gardenhire was a little anxious as Oakland piled up five runs in the ninth inning, forcing him to use closer Joe Nathan in what looked like a lopsided victory.
He sure enjoyed the offensive display, though, and was able to enjoy the game after all.
Jason Kubel and Justin Morneau each hit a home run, Scott Baker took a shutout in the ninth, and the Twins ended a three-game losing streak with a 10-5 victory over the Athletics on Tuesday night.
“A win is a win is a win,” Gardenhire said. “Baker threw the ball very, very well. He just kind of ran out of gas there in the ninth. The first at-bat he had a heck of a battle then he couldn’t finish it and then it got a little crazy there.”
Baker (4-6) faced one batter over the minimum through eight innings and then allowed the first three hitters of the ninth to reach base, touching off an A’s rally that featured five runs on three hits, four walks and an error.
“We walked too many people and missed at least two plays at second base,” Gardenhire said. “You have to get outs there. We’re trying to do a little too, and we end up with our closer in the game.”
Former first overall draft pick Delmon Young drove in three runs for the Twins, who scored more runs than in their previous four games combined. Carlos Gomez added two RBIs and Brendan Harris had three hits.
“A great night for our offense, beating the ball around,” Gardenhire said. “We scored some runs, and then made it entertaining at the end. What more do you want? Everybody got their money’s worth.”
Baker remained undefeated against the A’s in four starts after allowing three runs on four hits. He struck out eight and walked one as he pitched at least seven shutout innings for the sixth time in his career. He was within three outs of his second career shutout, but the Twins needed Nathan to strike out a pair of batters with the bases loaded to record his 12th save in 14 chances to hang on.
“Basically what it comes down to is what I’m doing differently than in previous starts and that’s pitching better out of the stretch,” Baker said. “I’m keeping damage to a minimum. Everything was working really well and then I got to that ninth inning and got a little dicey there.”
Brett Anderson (3-6) allowed five runs on a season-high 10 hits over 5 2-3 innings as the A’s had their seven-game winning streak stopped. He walked one and struck out five.
“I was one pitch away from a good start but I couldn’t get out of the sixth,” Anderson said. “I was up in the zone quite a bit and it was only a matter of time before they took advantage.”
Adam Kennedy, who had two hits and drove in two runs, singled in the first and Rajai Davis doubled and stole third in the third for the A’s. After Kennedy was hit by a pitch leading off the fourth, Baker retired the next 14 hitters before Jack Hannahan led off the ninth with a single.
The Twins scored eight runs combined through their first four games on the road trip. This time every Twins starter either recorded a hit or scored a run.
Young singled home a run in the second as the Twins grabbed the early lead. Anderson retired 11 of the next 12 batters before Morneau led off the sixth with his 16th home run. He later added an RBI single. Young and Gomez each added two-out doubles to make it 5-0.
“The game took a severe turn when Brett got in some trouble and the bullpen couldn’t hold them,” A’s manager Bob Geren said. “A loss is a loss and still hurts but making Joe Nathan get a save means it was a good ending to a loss.”
Notes: Chris Denorfia was recalled from Triple-A Sacramento and the A’s optioned IF Gregorio Petit to Sacramento. … Twins OF Denard Span left the game after the top of the third inning with dizziness. … A’s 3B coach Mike Gallego missed the game to attend his daughter’s graduation. A’s Director of Minor League Operations Keith Lieppeman filled in on the baselines. … Morneau’s sixth-inning home run ended a four-game drought for the Twins. … Crede left the game in the eighth with a bruised left forearm.